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PRINCE2: The 7 Processes

29 August 2014

PRINCE2 is a process-based approach to project management. Each process is defined by key inputs and outputs, objectives and activities. Here we attempt to delve a little deeper into each of the 7 Processes to better understand PRINCE2 methodology....

1. Directing a Project - aimed at the Project Board who manage and monitor the process from initial start-up to Project completion. The Project Board direct a project by initiating it, setting out the Stage Boundaries, giving directions and closing a project. This is done through authorising documents and management strategies including the Business Case, Project Briet, Stage Plans and Project Plans.

2. Starting up a Project - this pre-project process ensures everything is in place to successfully conduct a PRINCE2 project. Here reasons for undertaking the project are set out, as are the desired outcomes. Information for the team is gathered, the Project Management Team is appointed and the Initiation Stage Plan created. Other documents including the Business Case, Project Product Description and Project Brief are created.

3. Initiating a Project - before a project can be initiated, the Project Manager must develop an Initiation Stage Plan which is sent with the Project Brief, to the Project Board. Once authorised, the initiation process can begin.

Project tasks are set out including, what will be done, why it will be done (benefits), how it will be done and how risk will be managed and controlled. Control over the entire project will be determined, communication plans (by who, with who, why and how) and roles and responsibilities for carrying out and monitoring tasks are agreed.

Management Strategies are prepared during this process including; Risk, Configuration, Quality and Communication Management Strategies. Project controls such as the number of stages, reporting requirements and tolerances are set out, the Business Case is reviewed and the Project Initiation Documentation is compiled for the Project Board, along with the next Stage Plan, in order for the Project to move to the next step.

4. Controlling a Stage - this process sets out the activities of the Project Manager within each stage of the Project.
Activities include:
- authorising and monitoring project work, usually in the form of a Work Package, which describes what must be produced, how much it will cost, how long it will take etc,
- monitoring and reporting progress is carried out by reviewing management documents at each stage to ensure control over the project. The Project Board should be kept up-to-date with progress by the Project Manager via a Highlight Report.
- managing issues and risks is done by keeping various logs and registers up-to-date so the Project Manager can examine them to assess risk and change anything that threatens the progression of the project. The risks and changes are sent up to the Project Board for comment, where corrective action is determined.

5. Managing Product Delivery - the objective of this process is for the Team and Project Managers to ensure that planned products are created and delivered by accepting and checking Work Packages and ensuring all work conforms to the requirements of the Work Package. The process ensures that the work is completed and meets quality criteria, progress and forecasts are accessed, and approval is obtained for completed work.

6. Managing Stage Boundaries - Here the Project Managers prepares for the next management stage. He will create a Stage Plan (or an Exception Plan), update the Project Initiation Documentation, Project Plan and Business Case and produce a Report End Stage. Once this relevant information has been gathered it is presented to the Project Board who will decide on whether to continue with the project or not.

7. Closing a Project - a controlled closing of a Project is essential for PRINCE2. In this process relevant documentation in gathered to present to the Project Board for them to authorise a project’s closure. An End Project Report is compiled and submitted to the Board. Only when they are satisfied will a PRINCE2 Project formally end.

The many Principles, Themes and Processes of PRINCE2 project management are complex and vast. How they all fit and work together, and are applied to move a project forward (or not) are explained through professional qualifications and training programs, like those offered by Total Training Solutions. You can find out more about our range of PRINCE2 courses via our website. Specialist PRINCE2 Foundation, PRINCE2 Practitioner and PRINCE2 combined courses are available. Please call us on 0800 612 1299 or email info@tts-uk.com to book your place or if you have any questions about any of our courses.

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